Su Baker AM: DDCA President recognised in Australian Honours

Congratulations to DDCA President Su Baker whose contribution to tertiary arts was recognised with the award of an AM (Member In The General Division) in the Australian Honours announced on 11 June 2018.

As those who know her are aware, Su’s seemingly indefatigable support for tertiary creative arts has been in evidence throughout her career from her early days as an award-winning artist in WA, through the ups and downs of Sydney College of the Arts post-amalgamation, and from 2000 as a key arts leader at the Victorian College of the Arts. Along the way she has squeezed in executive roles, including as President of ACUADS, and more recently as instigator and President of the Australian Council of Deans and Directors of Creative Arts. 


Longstanding colleague Professor Brad Buckley who worked with Su at Sydney College of the Arts and is now Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne, said: "The awarding of the Order of Australia is timely recognition of Professor Su Baker’s thirty-year career as an artist, educator and advocate for the visual and creative arts. She has been at the forefront of the evolving pedagogy and research culture of the visual and creative arts, and the role of the visual arts in building Australian culture and our own voice."

Su’s fellow DDCA Board members were quick to acknowledge this recognition.

"Su’s tireless commitment and advocacy on behalf of tertiary arts education has been exemplary, as evidenced not only by her role at VCA, but her service on behalf of tertiary creative arts nationally." - Sarah Miller, University of Wollongong.

"Su’s consistent work over a long period of time has helped to steadily raise the visibility of the arts, and therefore its viability nationally." - Marie Sierra, UNSW Art & Design.

"Professor Baker has been instrumental in leading the sector, as a sector for the first time. Her standing as an advocate for the tertiary creative arts has been second to none. The extraordinary esteem in which she is held nationally has enabled her to draw together multiple and diverse perspectives to achieve new synergies." - Kit Wise, University of Tasmania/ RMIT.

"Su has always been a generous and committed leader and has inspired so many artists and academics. Her continued advocacy and leadership has meant that the arts continue to make a major contribution to our developing national identity in Australia." - Clive Barstow, Edith Cowan University

“Su has been a major force in leading the creative and visual arts fields in tertiary education, reflecting her outstanding commitment, dedication and vision for the arts.” - Kim VIncs, Swinburne University of Technology.

Su’s award was given for “significant service to tertiary education in the visual and creative arts, particularly through advancing scholarship and research opportunities”.

Thank you for your long standing service to creative arts Su and we look forward to many more years of collaboration!

Our congratulations also go to other tertiary arts recipients, including: Virginia Spate AC, art history, University of Sydney; Michael Atherton AM, music education, Western Sydney University; John Hibberd AM, playwright, University of Melbourne; Michael Barkl OAM, digital media and music education, Illawarra TAFE; Dianne Eden OAM, arts education, QUT; Rita Seethaler OAM, steel band music, Monash University.

UWA launches new Masters program with WA Symphony Orchestra

The University of Western Australia Conservatorium of Music has joined with the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra to offer a new Masters program that allows students to transition to a professional music career.  Students will not only receive mentoring and lessons by WASO members but will also play alongside them in concerts. Similar ‘immersion’ programs are available overseas with the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Pops and Chicago Symphony orchestras, but this is thought to be the first of its kind in Australia.

Monash’s Andrew Brook appointed as 2020 Sydney Biennale Artistic Director

Congratulations to Monash University lecturer Andrew Brook who has been appointed as Artistic Director for the Sydney Biennale in 2020. Andrew, an interdisciplinary artist and recipient of a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, has said that his aim as artistic director will be to "shine a light on the active, stable and rich pre-existing collaborations and connectivity of Indigenous and Edge cultures”.

Supporting Freedom of Artistic Expression

US-based organisation Freemuse and the Society for Ethnomusicology has announced an agreement to collaborate to support global freedom of artistic expression. The MOU is the start of a framework that sees protection of artistic creativity as a basic human right. The announcement comes as Freemuse releases The State of Artistic Freedom Report, which notes “emergence of a new global culture of silencing others, where artistic expression is being shut down in every corner of the globe, including in the traditionally democratic West."

The Report is available at:

Editorial: The shape of things to come

Thirty years ago, in July 1988, the Commonwealth Government introduced a policy paper that was to reshape the Australian Higher Education landscape and introduce concepts and ideas that were to influence university operations over the following three decades. In this edition of NiTRO we mark the anniversary of the release of the White Paper with a host of perspectives and recollections.

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Vision for future art careers

A new report, Careers in the arts: Visions for the future, based on a 3-year research program, has been released by Creative Europe and ELIA. The report includes case studies from higher education and professional arts practice that focus upon how to make a living from the arts. The report is available at:

Digitising art, cultural value and Charlotte Bronte study amongst recent Linkage grants

Three arts related projects are amongst the most recent announcement of ARC Linkage Projects funding:

  • Digitising art projects Archive led by Professor John Potts; Professor Ross Harley; Dr John Kaldor; Professor Nicole Anderson; Dr Scott East and administered by Macquarie University;
  • Meaningfully communicating the value of arts and culture through reporting led by Professor Julian Meyrick; Professor Robert Phiddian; Professor Richard Maltby; Dr Tully Barnett; Mr Procopis (Peter) Louca; Ms Satu Teppo; Ms Christabel Anthoney and administered by Flinders University;
  • A textual and critical study of Charlotte Bronte led by Emeritus Professor Christine Alexander; Professor Tim Dolin; Emeritus Professor Herbert Rosengarten and administered by UNSW.

Congratulations to all awardees.

Michael Brealey appointed to Screen Australia top job

Former Head of TV Policy, Strategy and Governance at the ABC, Michael Brealey has been appointed as new Chief Operating Officer at Screen Australia, taking over from Fiona Cameron who has moved to ACMA. Brealey, whose career also includes with Vodafone and the Federal Government, has expressed support for "supporting local talent and bringing Australian stories to our screens".

HE standards panel releases retention report

The government has released a report announcing ways to better support students. 'Improving retention, completion and success in higher education', produced by the Higher Education standards panel recommends improved guidance to students on enrolment and career choices as well as improved institutional strategies to address student wellbeing and associated benchmarks. The report is available at:

Australasian Association of Writing Programs Annual Conference: Peripheral Visions

Event dates: 28–30 November 2018
Event location: Perth, Western Australia
Event website

Every creative expression shares a vision. Whether writers are looking from, looking towards, looking askance, looking away, or looking over, writing beckons us to the periphery and asks, ‘Where to now?’. The Keynote speaker is award-winning novelist and Professor of Writing Kim Scott.